Graduation dilemma: This seat is taken

Why do some young women attain higher education and take opportunities away from those who would actually use their degrees for something other than enlightened child rearing?

Fatima Attarwala October 04, 2010

Among the enlightened elite of our great nation are parents who believe in educating their daughters. They spend several thousands, millions even, to ensure that their daughters have quality education from the best universities within their means.

Yes, parents like these do exist, among the many who only look forward to the dubious pleasure in marrying their daughters off.

Imagine, for example, one of Pakistan’s best universities. Graduation, especially with accolades, would add to any resume, attracting many good opportunities. But you are mistaken if you think I am talking about job opportunities. Somehow, somewhere, someone changed the rules of the game and that university is viewed by families and friends as a glorified finishing school.

I doubt that the alma matter’s name is bandied about by prospective employers as much as it is by prospective mothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, even aunts-in-law. Somehow, the concentration in development economics is confused with major in home economics!  And the degree is viewed as little more than a hobby indulged in by the benevolent permission of forbearing parents, to be put aside now that ‘real’ life has started. Or at best, to be used as a bait to hook the best “fish” in the sea.

During university life, there is competition for the best grades, the highest GPA, eclat in sports and extra curricular activities. Before the rivalry for the best jobs can begin, however, many young women who have been leading so far in all these arenas, detour to a different path, shelving dreams of careers and success with apparently happy smiles.

Whether the engaged or married states can really afford happiness enough to make all else seem unworthy, I do not know, nor have I been tempted to find out.  My issue is this – why take opportunities away from those who would actually use their education for something other than enlightened child rearing?

Fatima Attarwala A sub-editor on the national desk of The Express Tribune
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necassarily reflect the views and policies of the Express Tribune.


Wasio Ali Khan Abbasi | 13 years ago | Reply @maham: I sincerely hope that you were replying to someone else and mistakenly added my name because if you were not, then this is THE most blind post I have ever seen in my life. Just to confirm what I wrote, please read the following carefully (and my earlier post as well to clear any doubts). 1) The gist of my post is that no matter the girl wants to take professional career or after studies become housewife, it is her right to apply and get admission on merit. 2) Doing so will improve competitiveness in class, pushing the students to the limit of the creativity. 3) Those who graduate, some of the girls would get married and not take up professional work. The remaining would be very a competitive lot (both boys and girls) who would contribute greatly to their companies and country. 4) Those who could not get admission (whether boy or girl) due to competitiveness are either not ready at the time of attempt for admission or they are not meant for that institute/profession. 5) I cited my personal examples as well to illustrate what I was trying to convey. And finally, I have said practically the same stuff what you wrote in your post. Please, read carefully before posting and do not start accusing unjustly. It is one thing to criticize me because of my views and opinions but it is entirely something else to accuse me when you yourself didn't read it properly, and I hate false/incorrect/unjust accusations even if they are made in error.
maham | 13 years ago | Reply @ Mr wasio the gist of your comment is that girls are not ready for professional competition and they are also not meant for professional jobs. let me tell u that i have known extremely brilliant girls ,with professional degrees like engineering and medicine,who have in their heart intense longing to study further or work professionally! such an ambitious student would herself never want to spend 4 or 5 years of life getting professional skills and let them go to waste.they are very much ready and deserving to work! so your point about readiness is only in your mind! the dilemma is somewhere else actually when brothers, fathers and husbands like you ''tell'' the girls that they cannot deal with highly competitive pressures because they are not meant for it.its not that you men are so innocent that you dont realize women's capabilities,it is because you ''know very well'' that the day she stands on her own feet and becomes independent she will not obey your orders or even serve what wise men do actually is they brainwash the girls so nicely while they are being raised so that none of em would ever question! i know lady doctors , their husbands made them housewives , they pretend to be happy and contended with their lives but at heart they are extremely oppressed creatures!
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